A report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C. (CPABC) indicates, while the Northwest may have experienced job cuts in the service sector last year, the future is looking bright.
The CPABC recently released its annual Regional Check-Up report on Northwest B.C., comprised of the North Coast and Nechako regions, that states the labour market deteriorated in 2014, with total employment in the region reaching its lowest level in at least a decade.
Statistics Canada reported an overall loss of 1,600 jobs in 2014, a result of shrinking employment in the services-producing sector. This contributed to a 1.1 per cent increase in the unemployment rate, for an annual average of eight per cent. However, the report noted that virtually all job losses were part-time.
But economic activity is expected to pick up on the North Coast in 2015, as four projects located in and around Prince Rupert move forward: the Fairview Container Terminal Expansion, Prince Rupert Potash Terminal upgrade, and the Prince Rupert and Westcoast Gas Transmission Projects, worth a combined total of $12.4 billion.
The report states if these projects proceed, construction activity would create long and short-term employment opportunities, in addition to spin-off economic activity. The construction of major projects and renewed demand for lumber exports through the Port of Prince Rupert should help expand the North Coast’s economy this year.